ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus

 

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie

 

Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.

 

Thoughts on Black Hawk Down

 

Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.

 

Overall: Must watch war movie.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – S – Snatch (2000)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Alan Ford, Lennie James, Ewen Bremner

 

Plot: Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.


Tagline – Stealing stones is hazardous.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gangster Wonderland

 

Story: Snatch starts as we meet Turkish (Statham) an underground boxing promoter who is on the biggest business with Brick Top (Ford), but when he loses his fighter to gypsy Mickey O’Neil (Pitt), he must work on a new deal to get Mickey to enter the fight.

When the fight doesn’t go as planned Turkish must make amends for the mistake, putting him where he never wants to be in debt to Brick Top, while we follow the gangsters in this world as they get themselves into a string of trouble.

 

Thoughts on Snatch

 

Characters – We have plenty of characters in this film, Turkish is our narrator telling us everything going on, he is a boxing promotor that gets himself in the bad books of the head gangster in the city. Mickey O’Neil is a gypsy that just so happens to be an amateur boxer that ruins the plans of Turkish. Brick Top is the gangster running the city, he keeps everyone in fear and promises to feed anyone that crosses him to his pigs.

PerformancesJason Statham broke out with this role, he had done a couple of supporting roles, but this made him the star we know he is today. Brad Pitt gives us a performance we didn’t see coming from him as he showed us he can bring us a supporting role that wants to break away from the Hollywood main stream. Alan Ford seems to enjoy playing the villainous gangster role too not holding back in anyway.

StoryThe story follows the many different members of the crime world on a serious of miss-adventures during a week long time, this takes us through robbers, thieves, gypsy and gamblers that are all trying to pull something off as things are unfolding. I will say at times it does feel like one too many things are going on, but they do all come full circle by the end of the film. as for gangster style movies this story is one of the more enjoyable without taking itself too seriously.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from things that do go wrong for the characters, with the dog having a squeaky toy instead of a bark is funny. The crime side of the film comes from every character that is from different places in the crime world.

SettingsThe settings keep us seeing everything coming from the different locations you would expect to see gangster films to take place.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog and the toy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is one too many stories to keep up with at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gangster film that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously, which helps bring the colourful characters to life.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – Welcome to the Jungle (2003)

Director: Peter Berg

Writer: R.J. Stewart, James Vanderbilt (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries

 

Plot: A tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster’s son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure.


Tagline – Bulls, guns, whips, gold and one sacred cat

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Blast!

 

Story: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we meet debt collecting enforcer Beck (Johnson) that is working to get buy his own restaurant. Getting pushed to his limits he gets offered one last job, he must travel to the Amazon to bring back his bosses son Travis (Scott) and his dream of chasing El Dorado.

In Brazil Beck finds Travis and believes this job is going to be easy until the owner of the land Hatcher (Walken) that wants the information Travis has in his head, which leads Travis and Beck needing to put their differences a side to make it out alive.

 

Thoughts on Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – Beck is a debt collector, he can find anyone and handles himself in a fight, being able to take on multiple enemies, he does want out of this world and dreams of having his own restaurant, he must do one final job which will put his outside his comfort zone and taking on an army forcing him to resort to guns, the weapon he doesn’t want to be using. Travis is the son of the boss that employees Beck, he has been treasure hunting in Brazil in the middle of a battle between ruler Hatcher and the rebels looking for freedom, he is wise cracking which has lead to him finding himself in trouble more often than not. Beck and Travis work well as they are different on many levels with their bickering offering the laughs, but they are both dreamers in their own way too. Mariana is the bar tender in the town, she keeps both sides in peace while watching as her town gets pushed around. Hatcher is the owner of the town, well he claims to be, he is working the residents into slavery searching for gold that he can make money, he will do anything to make his fortune.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson was still making his first few steps in movies with this role and you can see all the potential he had in the action genre, he shines like always in the fight sequences and while moments of his performance were still in need of work, you can see what he was working towards. Seann William Scott was fresh off the American Pie franchise and one of the hottest comical actors, this showed us that he knew the moments to go that little bit crazy and the moments to hold back, he does have great chemistry with Johnson too. Rosario Dawson is good in her role, but it does end up not being as strong of a character as it should have been while Christopher Walken enjoys his role as the villain, where he gets to break loose and have some fun.

StoryThe story here plays out like one we have seen before, an enforcer for a criminal wants to do one last job before leaving the business behind, only this time it will be the most dangerous one of his career. This is a by the book story it works and plays into the comedy needed between the lead two characters while also offering us the fish out of water routine for the organised professional. We have elements of a treasure hunt which are fun to watch too. It would be fair to say this story is an easy to follow film that gets the kicks it needs without being anything too complicated.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action plays into the hands of Dwayne Johnson’s talents, plenty of combat sequences and the use of weapons to increase the peril level, the adventure takes Beck out of his comfort zone to deal with the battle he is about to face. The comedy for the film comes from the bickering between Travis and Beck.

SettingsThe film takes place in Brazil for the most part, the Amazon to be more exact, this proves to be uncomfortable for Beck that is used to being in the cities, this adds comedy and unexpected moments to the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, not needed often but the team creates good moments when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts are not subtitled, which is annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fun action blast that puts Dwayne Johnson in the position of action hero, a position he will carry for years to come, it had good laughs throughout and action sequences that are fun to watch.

 

Overall: Action movie fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Trainspotting 2 (2017)

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Shirley Henderson, Kelly Macdonald Anjela Nedyalkova

 

Plot: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.


Tagline – Face your past. Choose your future.
Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: Trainspotting 2 starts as we meet the old gang, Renton (McGregor) who returns home, Begbie (Carlyle) who is still in jail after his actions in the first film, Spud (Bremner) who has continued to let heroin control his life even after trying to go straight and Simon (Miller) who has been working a con with Veronika (Nedyalkova) where they blackmail men with fetishes.

Renton isn’t welcomed as he had hoped with him having to save Spud’s life and Simon still holding a grudge after not getting the money and Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back at the three that left him in prison. With all four reaching mid-ages they are all facing crisis and search for purpose which brings them back together once again.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting 2

 

Characters – Renton returns to Scotland after 20-years, his life has started to go wrong with his marriage and career, now he returns to rebuild the friendships he lost with Spud and Simon as they plan something new. Renton shows us what it is like to think things are going well but inside you had wished for a different outcome to life. Simon has continued to hold a grudge against Renton after not getting any money, he is still hooked on cocaine and uses Renton to make things go in his own direction. Spud has reached the end of his reason to continue on, his heroin addiction has become too much for himself to deal with but after Renton tries to save him, he opens up a new life with his friends, even though he is still seemingly in his own film. Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back into his criminal ways but first he wants to get revenge on Renton for leaving him in prison.

PerformancesThe gang is back together, the original four are back and all four have had a good career since the original. Ewan McGregor does look like he has enjoyed returning to this role, while the extremes he goes through are not as difficult than before. Jonny Lee Miller does give us one of his best performances in recent years here, with Ewen Bremner also gives us a great performance as he is involved in the best scenes of the film. Robert Carlyle relishes returning to this role where he is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story reunites the original characters who must face their action 20-years ago, this is a story that had been spoken about for years and now the fans of the original will enjoy seeing where these characters are now and what has happened in their lives too. We have seen how they have grown over the years but also have never reaches the levels they dreamed off, I feel this looks at real life and where people are now and where they wanted to be, even if this film has a previous criminal life.

SettingsFor the setting we head back to Scotland and get to see the changes over the time which gives us a good nostalgia feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Chose Life

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you haven’t seen the original certain moments will seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is great fans service, you will only be enjoying this one if you enjoyed the first one as you will find too many references coming off short.

 

Overall: Great Fans Service

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan

 

Plot: During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not That Great

 

Story: AVP: Alien vs. Predator starts by taking us around the world fron Antarctica to space to Nebraska to Nepal where we meet the mountain climbing expert Alexa Woods (Lathan) onto Mexico where we meet the archaeologist Sebastian (Bova) who both get a visit from Maxwell Stafford (Salmon) who represents Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen).

Weyland has discovered an ancient pyramid buried under the ice of Bouvetoya Island in Antarctica and has built a team including Alexa, Sebastian, Miller (Bremner), Mark (Flanagan), Joe (Rye) and Adele (Boulaye) to mention a few. To travel to the island to enter into the pyramid for what could well be a massive discovery for whoever finds it.

What starts out as a simple exhibition turns into a nightmare when above ground the men get attacked by Predators but inside the pyramid they must battle aliens in a battle for survival stuck in the middle of these iconic villains.

 

Thoughts on AVP: Alien vs. Predator

 

Characters/PerformanceAlexa Woods is the expert climber hired to lead the team into the pyramid using her experience on climb ice surfaces, she reluctantly agrees knowing she is the only available person to do the job safely. Sebastian is the archaeologist that is an expert on many ancient cultures. Weyland is the man funding and seeking technology inside the pyramid. The rest of the characters get a proper introduction only to be killed off in about a ten-minute sequence.

Performance was Lathan is good and the highlight of the human characters with everyone else just coming off fine not getting the time to make an impact.

StoryWhen you look at this story you are left thinking this is Alien on Earth, just without any suspense, horror or interesting stuff going on. This sounds harsh because this is an easy watch and people are going to be happy to watch aliens and predators fight, the problem I have was the introducing us to countless humans only to be disposable for these villains. Certain elements of the story telling do work though, looking at the idea of ancient civilizations worshiping the predators in exchange for the pyramids I did like.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all what you would come to expect, large body counts and alien or predator kills we have seen before. The horror is almost gone which disappoints with the sci-fi edge working on the level it needs to only.

SettingsAfter taking us around the world in the opening sequences we do settle down nicely for the setting inside the pyramid under the ice with little escape.

Special EffectsWe have good effects when we keep things small scale but bad effects when things get to the large scale.

Final ThoughtsThis is just fine nothing more, it is an easy watch and brings together icons of film, but this just isn’t as fun as Freddy v Jason.

 

Overall: Easy to watch all actioner horrorless movie.

Rating